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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Four of My Favorite Things (The Bruery)

Beer.  Food.  Friends.  Family.  Not necessarily in that order.  Last Thursday I had the quintessential experience-them-all-in-one place episodes.  I found out that The Bruery was teaming up with a local restaurant, Pizzeria Basta, do a food and beer pairing dinner – a do not miss event in my book.

For those that don’t know them, The Bruery out of Orange County produces some absolutely amazing beer, and routinely makes top lists in the country.  I have only had a few of their beers to be honest, my favorite being a bottle of White Oak I found locally, but every single one I’ve tried has been simultaneously original and amazing.  From their website –

“Our calling is to create beers with character and depth using the simplest and purest of means. We do not filter or pasteurize our beers. All of our bottled beers gain carbonation through bottle conditioning, allowing carbonation to naturally occur through a secondary bottle fermentation. We strive to use unconventional ingredients, and we will proudly state what we put in our beers.”

Pizzeria Basta is another amazing little place.  Chef and Owner Kelly Whitaker has studied abroad in Switzerland and Italy, in addition to working in two different Michelin star rated restaurants.  After finding success as the opening chef at a wood-fired pizza restaurant in Hollywood, he moved back to Boulder in 2008.  This is not your normal “pizza” joint – works of art are created here.

Like I said – if you like food and beer, do not miss.  Attending the event with me: Nick (our CFO and Co-Founder), Rachael (Nick’s fiancĂ©e – first time we’ve met her, and she’s fantastic…think we’re all going to a cheese making class in the near future, but that’s neither here nor there…unless you like cheese), Ben (our CEO and Co-Founder) and myself (Director of Operations and Co-founder).

First Course:  Birra Basta – “Biere de Garde brewed with roasted zucchini, citrus and fennel. 8.5% abv.” – Served with Squash Blossom “fritti” and buratta over arugula.

When I saw this beer on the menu, it certainly peaked my curiosity.  It’s a super limited release brewed especially for Pizzeria Basta.  Tasted similar to a saison, golden in color, with a really, really well developed, velvety body.  Some faint notes of fennel in front, and some really light orange flavors, this beer was paired excellently with the dish – which was incredible in its own right.

Second Course: Sans Pagaie – “Belgian style kriek made from a sour blonde aged in wine barrels and brewed with cherries. 5.8% abv.”  -Served with Farro Salad, duck confit, Cyprus grove truffle tremor, and Colorado cherry.

I love sour beers, but to some it’s just a little odd.  I was really looking forward to this one, and in no way did it disappoint.  The ruby red grapefruit color was a site to behold, and the high carbonation level was fantastic.  Great balance of sour and fruit come forward, with a barely noticeable mustiness in there somewhere to.  Finishes very crisp and dry and is downright refreshing.  Again, paired with the earthiness of the duck dish, an absolutely perfect match as well.

The last two courses I’m not going to review (but are included below).  I try and keep these under 500 words, short attention span and all, but I will sum the rest up:  Nick doesn’t like beets.  I don’t know what the hell black garlic is but I want more.  The Smoking Wood Porter is, well, smoky.  Kinda like how your clothes smell when you come back from camping, only in liquid form (Rachael loved this beer, but mixed results from the rest of us).

So, to Benjamin Weiss from The Bruery and the folks in the kitchen at Pizzeria Basta – I can’t thank you enough for putting this on.  Out of this world good.  Cheers!

Disclaimer...I am not a professional photographer...ahem.

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